Public Funding Of Maternal Healthcare Is A Must, Says Ex.Gov. Mimiko

Former Governor of Ondo State

By Nuel Suji – To address the perennial tragedy of deaths during childbirth in Nigeria, the federal and state governments must ensure universal health coverage for every Nigerian, beginning with women and children’s health issues, the immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has said.

Mimiko gave the admonition during the Maiden General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Association of Fetomaternal Medicine Specialists of Nigeria(AFEMSON) held at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.

Former Governor of Ondo State

He stated that he was a firm believer in universal health coverage, which implies that every Nigerian should have access to the healthcare that they need, not the one they can afford, and without engaging in catastrophic spending.

Delivering his Keynote Address entitled “Gains and challenges of free maternal healthcare,” Mimiko deplored what he called the Breton Woods catechism that public health services cannot be free, which he said was already having adverse effects on developed countries like the United States.

He said: “Evidence abounds today that the issue of maternal health is regarded as a human right. In the USA, between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality increased by 26 per cent, the only advanced country with such a problem problem.

“Recently, the abandonment of Barrack Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act has been causing a lot of crisis. In Nigeria, If you add the unpaid work of women to our GDP, you will realise that women rule our society.

“We must accept the morality that government has a responsibility to finance universal health coverage, beginning with maternal and child healthcare. Our shared humanity places the burden on us to have shared responsibilities for safe motherhood.”

Citing the example of the Abiye programme of his administration where healthcare from pregnancy to delivery cost just N5,000 and where pregnant women were given free phones through which they accessed the health rangers who treated them for free at home, Mimiko said giving birth is a divine injunction that must be obeyed through increased public health expenditure.

Under Abiye, he said, maternal mortality was reduced by 70 per cent.

Noting that the most important variable in reducing maternal mortality is political will, he charged medical practitioners to develop a set of health indices through which politicians can be assessed for re- election purposes, adding that this was the only way to get the political will.

He added that practioners in the health sector must find creative ways of resolving crisis rather than resorting to strikes.



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